For Immediate Release

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Contact: 

Peter Hart, phart@fwwatch.org , 732-266-4932

New Research Shows Stopping Water, Utility Shutoffs Would Have Prevented Thousands of COVID Deaths

National campaign demands White House action on shutoffs.

WASHINGTON - In a new working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers from Duke University found that moratoria on utility disconnections reduced COVID-19 infections by 4.4 percent, and mortality rates by 7.4 percent.

The research paper goes on to estimate that a nationwide moratorium on shutoffs between March and November of last year would have reduced infection rates by 8.7 percent and deaths by 14.8 percent.

In response, Food & Water Watch Public Water for All Campaign Director Mary Grant issued the following statement:

“These stark numbers shine a light on a staggering inequality crisis in our country, and serve as a reminder that in a time of acute crisis there are simple policies that must be adopted to save lives and reduce suffering. While the previous administration’s shameful record is plain for all to see, the Biden-Harris administration now has the opportunity and the duty to act. A national moratorium on utility disconnections saves lives and eliminates one source of financial stress for struggling families. We all need water and power to get through this pandemic, and the White House must act to make sure that no household in America will have to struggle in order to keep the power on and water flowing.”

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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